Yeah, it's definitely a problem.
What's even more worrying about that is..out of all of those, all of 2 goals (?) were from headers. Clearly we have some real problems attacking set pieces. It'd be interesting to see who scores all of those set piece goals for Villa. Wouldn't be surprised if the defenders chipped in with a few. I think Mellberg scored something like 8 if I'm not mistaken.
We've got Sami, who always gets his share, but Carra has never been able to do that for us from a set piece, and it seems Skrtel hasn't as of yet either. Neither Aurelio nor Arbeloa are a threat inside the area either. Looking further up the pitch, who in our midfield is likely to get nick a goal inside the area? Mascherano would stay outside the area, and doesn't really have the height or jumping prowess to be really effective. Xabi seems to stay outside the area as well despite being of a good height. Kuyt has scored a couple of goals from set pieces for us but clearly doesn't do it often enough. Gerrard more often than not takes the set piece himself rather than getting on the end of it, which I still think is something Xabi should be doing instead. Babel hasn't shown a great deal of effectiveness.. which leaves us with Torres..
.. Torres and Sami, our only two real goal threats from a header in a set piece. That should explain a little of why we score so few from them.
I agree to an extent with that, but I don't think that should excuse how poor we are to be honest.
Up until this season did you think of Lescott as a threat from set pieces? Did you see him as someone who was a huge threat in the air? I'll be honest, I didn't. I mean, I didn't think he was awful in the air, but nothing worth writing home about.
... He's got 7 goals this year though. He got 2
What about Laursen at Villa? I know he's had his injuries, but he'd still played nearly 30 games in the league for them before this season, and he'd only scored once. This year he's got 6. That's more than in the rest of his career if you add up all his goals, I think I'm right in saying. Where's that come from?
Again, Laursen has been good in the air, but purely from a defensive point up until this season. Suddenly he's in and around the box attacking
the ball at it's got him his rewards.
I remember early after the season - pretty sure it was after we wasted loads of set plays in dangerous areas against Pompey - trying to count how many 6ft+ (or there abouts) players we'd used up until that point.
Carragher, Agger, Hyypia, Crouch, Babel, Gerrard, Alonso, Riise, Arbeloa, Kuyt (?), Torres, Leto & Sissoko. Thirteen.
Obviously Sissoko has moved on (but Skrtel is another who is 6ft+) and Agger and Leto have been unavailable. That's still alot of players though. There's usually atleast 5 of them on the pitch at any one given time.
Maybe I'm wrong here, and doing coaches and injustice, but surely coaching the ability to attack the ball and head it well must be one of the easiest things to do?
You would like to think if there are atleast five 6ft+ players on the pitch then they could atleast cause a distraction, even if they're not scoring goals. I mean, if Arbeloa or Xabi is making a run across to try and get a connection on the ball, they're atleast going to drag two defenders away, even if they're not going to score.
I know we're thin on the ground with players who attack the ball well, but at the same time, I don't think the Mancs are particularly blessed there either. Vidic, Ferdinand, Ronaldo... maybe Brown at a stretch. I find it infuriating that Carragher, Skrtel/Agger and Gerrard can't cause similar problems. That really is something they should
be able to do.
I find the whole thing quite infuriating to be honest, because I see some really average teams who are good at set pieces. Do Birmingham and Reading really have players who are better headers of the ball than our own? Are Almeria's players really more inventive than Alonso, Gerrard, Benayoun or Aurelio?
If we're not great at attacking the ball, why don't we focus more on being creative with our set pieces? Like we did for the Reading goal, like we did for Agger's against Chelsea. Almeria do it on a weekly basis. Benfica scored against us like it and it put them on the road to a European quater final.
If we're struggling with attacking the ball (and we shouldn't be) then we should be working our bollocks over on getting a couple of 'creative' routines ready for each weekend. Given how invaluable set pieces can be, there should be no excuses for not doing it.
Yup, I've gone from trying to make a good point in a clear and concise manner to angry, tired ranting. I still maintain that I have a point though.